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Total Recall: Spoiler candidate John Buckstaff’s anti-Wisconsin campaign

John Buckstaff likes fighting dirty. When he disagrees with a Governor he’ll tell businesses to stay out of the state of Wisconsin. When he loves a Senator that more than 20,000 of his neighbors have said should face a recall he’ll happily misrepresent himself simply to trigger a primary for the opposition party.

Representative Jess King is seeking to face State Senator Randy Hopper in a recall election on August 9. First, she’ll face Buckstaff, who entered the open primary due to the GOP hoping to buy more time for their incumbent to introduce himself to his constituents.

Buckstaff is no stranger to politics. In 1986, shortly after a tax audit regarding items he donated to charity and the DNR dinging him with a lawsuit over emissions (he was acquitted), he started an organization called B.O.W./W.O.W. (Businessmen of Wisconsin/Words of Warning). He used that organization to publish an ad in the Wall Street Journal telling businesses to “Escape from Wisconsin.”

Buckstaff’s organization also targeted taxes in the state of Wisconsin as being too high. However, he also claimed in the very same article that public sector budgets being cut was costing his furniture company business.

Harold Bergan, Governor Anthony Earl’s policy director, said of Buckstaff, “There`s been a rare, bipartisan, public sector-private sector consensus about Mr. Buckstaff. Everybody thinks he`s a jerk.”

Buckstaff also wasn’t making allies in his hometown of Oshkosh. The local Chamber of Commerce was perplexed as to why Buckstaff never contacted them if he was having problems with his business. Tim Casey was Executive Director of the Chamber when the ad ran and he was paraphrased in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying, “The negative nature of the ad counteracted a lot of effort that has been made to promote Wisconsin as a good place to do business.”

Local radio station WOSH tried their best to kick Buckstaff out of the state with a one-way ticket to Nome, Alaska. Talk show host J. Alan Schmidt, who called Buckstaff a “sissy,” started a fundraising drive to buy the ticket. Meanwhile, station President Phillip J. Robbins attacked Buckstaff in an editorial saying the businessman was gutless for not attaching his name to the ad.

Buckstaff even raised the ire of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, an organization perpetually critical of Wisconsin’s business climate. While WMC didn’t disagree with the context of the ad it did, in 1986, disagree with his tactics.

Buckstaff has now joined a sextet of zombie candidates to trigger fake Democratic primaries that will cost municipalities in the state of Wisconsin nearly $500,000. Election clerks in Hopper’s district estimate the primary costing taxpayers more than $80,000.

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